Final Thoughts

The summer is officially over and classes are starting up once again, but the conclusion of the summer does not mark the end of my research. This semester, I am lucky enough to be continuing my work with professors Smith and Irving through an independent study at the Mason School of Business. I am eager to move forward, but as promised, I’ve logged in one last time to give my final thoughts to those of you who have been following my progress.

One of the most important things that I will take away from conducting this summer research project is that there is no place for ego in the initial steps of research. Things constantly change, revisions need to be made everywhere, and a lot of time is required.  You have to really want to be working on the project you are on and you cannot let yourself get attached to the work you have already put into it because you might just have to take things in an entirely different direction. Several times throughout the summer, I would have to rework a database or add a new step to my collection process. It was discouraging at times because it felt like I was constantly taking a step back, but in the end I feel that the overall quality of my collections improved as a result of the revisions.

In my last meeting of the summer with professor Smith, we discussed the next steps for this project. The first of these is to clean up some of my notes from the first phase of data collection. I am also working to finish analyzing the data from the last set of companies in our sample. As such, I do not feel comfortable making some of the assumptions that I had on my list of noted trends. As promised, I will discuss one of the major ones that I did note.

I was somewhat surprised by the amount of boilerplate language used by many of the companies in our study. The SEC requirements discourage such practices in reporting, but nevertheless, it has been a frequent occurrence throughout my work. What I hope to learn in this upcoming semester is whether or not this promotes or hinders transparency within the annual reports.

I would like to conclude my final blog post by thanking the Charles Center as well as the Sharon J Mooney Scholarship fund for their support, without which I would not have been able to remain on campus to conduct this research. I would also like to thank professors Smith and Irving for their encouragement and for allowing me to be a part of such an exciting project.

I hope that those of you who have been reading about my project have enjoyed my updates as much as I have enjoyed doing the research behind them.

–Joe